Moffat County track gears up for another successful season |

Moffat County track gears up for another successful season

Andy Bockelman
For the Craig Press

After things abruptly stopped short for them last season, Moffat County High School runners, jumpers and throwers are getting back on track.

Or more accurately, back on the track.

Bulldog track and field picks up again this week with the start to Season D as the Clint Wells Invitational starts at 10 a.m. Friday at MCHS.

The home meet that usually takes place at the tail end of the track year will instead serve as the opener, and while the event may be a little smaller in scope, it will be a welcome change from the previous year.

Tracksters were all set to get moving in March 2020 when their first event was postponed and the season later canceled outright with the COVID-19 pandemic. Though members of the Class of 2020 didn’t get their final shot, this year’s seniors are grateful to be back in business under the guidance of Todd Trapp, Lance Scranton, Kip Hafey, David Pressgrove, and more.

As a junior, Tiana Nichols had planned to complement successful cross country and swim seasons by joining the distance races on the MoCo track. And, though that didn’t work out last year, she looks to compete strongly for her final athletic season.

“I love to run, and I was so sad when cross country ended, so I wanted to try this,” she said.

Nichols was paired up with junior Bree Meats during a Tuesday practice this week, the two gutting it out for the upcoming events.

“We’ve been doing lots of hard workouts and getting in shape,” Meats said. “We’re really excited for this first meet.”

In the throwing rings, senior Chris Sanderson has been guiding younger athletes while also prepping himself for the season to come, with a goal to hit 40 feet in the shot put and 140 in the discus, ideally surpassing both.

The gap in training didn’t help, but he’s been doubling down his effort since.

“It’s hard to get used to throwing and getting my techniques back and all the stuff I learned two years ago, but I’ll get there,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the weights every day. Football season really helped.”

MCHS lost numerous competitors from 2019 but retains plenty of the crew they took all the way to that year’s 3A state championships, with high placements in sprints, distance and relay races in particular.

A highlight of the 2019 season was an upset in the 4×200-meter relay at state, as Halle Hamilton, Stephenie Swindler, Emma Jones and Emaleigh Papierski got the gold. And technically, with no one taking the title in 2020, they remain the reigning champions.

Moffat County High School 2021 track and field schedule

All events subject to change

10 a.m. May 7 — Clint Wells Invitational; Craig

8 a.m., May 15 — Warrior Invitational; Grand Junction

10 a.m., May 21 — Coal Ridge Invitational; New Castle

TBD, May 24 — Delta JV Meet; Delta

3 p.m., May 27 — Phil Wertman Invitational; Grand Junction

10 a.m., June 2 — Tiger/Bulldog Invitational; Hayden

TBD, June 5 — Steamboat Springs Invitational; Steamboat Springs

TBD, June 10, 11 — Western Slope League Championships; Grand Junction

TBD, June 17, 18 — Tiger Invitational; Grand Junction

TBD, June 24, 25, 26 — Colorado State Championships; Lakewood

While Swindler has since graduated, the remaining trio are excited at the prospect of finding their new fourth.

Of course, they’ll have to watch their step as well, with no slots guaranteed.

“That was a really good team,” Jones said of the state foursome. “The sophomores that didn’t get that freshman year are all really super-competitive, so all of the relay teams are going to be our best runners since everyone is competing for those spots. I bet a lot will be determined by this first meet.”

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